where religion and politics meet

Everybody has a worldview. A worldview is what you believe about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Nations have worldviews too, a prevailing way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Politics is the outworking of that worldview in public life.

Our country’s worldview used to be Christianity. Now we are told it is and has always been secularism, which is practical atheism. This issue divides our country, but those who disagree are divided as well on how to respond.

Our country could not have been founded as a secular nation, because a secular country could not guarantee freedom of religion. Secular values would be higher than religious ones, and they would supersede them when there was a conflict. Secularism sees religion only as your personal preferences, like your taste in food, music, or movies. It does not see religion, any religion, as being true.

But God, prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments were always important parts of our public life, including our public schools, until 1963, when the court called supreme ruled them unconstitutional, almost 200 years after our nation’s founding.

Our country also did not envision a multitude of different religions co-existing in one place, because the people, and the government, would then be divided on the basic questions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Our Constitution, which we fought a war to be able to enact, states, among other things, that our government exists for us to form a more perfect union, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. It could not do this unless it had a clear vision of what it considers to be true, a vision shared with the vast majority of the people in this country.

I want to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

Because religion deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, though the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation, critical thinking, and a hunger for what is true.

Science and education used to be valuable tools in the search for truth, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions of life without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary, possible, or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

If you are new to this site, I would encourage you to browse through the older articles. They deal with a lot of the more basic issues. Many of the newer articles are shorter responses to partiular problems.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies. Follow this link to my videos on youtube:


If you want to contact me, email is best: lacraig1@sbcglobal.net

Thank you.

Larry Craig

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Quickest, Easiest Way to Fix Congress

The Quickest, Easiest Way to Fix Congress
or, The Real Reason Nothing Gets Done in Washington

This reminds me of the joke: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?  Answer: just one, but it has to want to change.
The idea that Congress has a problem and needs to change is not the thinking of a scattered few people in our country.  Congress has some of the lowest approval ratings of anything that the public is asked about.  One side in Congress sees the other side as blocking everything they want to do.  That other side almost feels powerless from stopping that first side from doing anything that they want to do.  And everybody else doesn’t see anything getting done, except maybe for that health care bill passed in the middle of the night, which apparently nobody read prior to voting for it.
Whatever your views are about that health care law, the whole point was to get insurance for 47 million uninsured Americans and make it affordable.   So they require everybody to get insurance, and about 7 million new people sign up.  That’s less than 15% of that 47 million, and the government (i.e. everybody else) is paying for part of those policies.  That’s the only reason some people found it affordable.  Millions more lost their plan or saw their rates soar, and this whole plan is praised as a success.  Success isn’t what it used to be.
The problem with Congress is usually attributed to the political differences between the two major parties.  One side sees the government as responsible for fixing every problem that the country has, to meet every need, to provide for the general welfare of every person.  These solutions all cost money, either in direct payments to people or in programs that provide services to people.
Another way of looking at this, albeit it a more critical and skeptical one, is that this party realizes that people who benefit directly from this use of money will most likely vote to continue to receive that benefit regardless of its overall effect on the country, the economy, or anyone else.
The other side, while not immune to this practice of spending money to help people and at the same time expecting that this will ensure their votes to keep these same people in office, believes (for the most part) that the level of debt this country has reached and the number of things that the government is doing in trying to manage people’s lives is putting the country, the economy, and the very people it is trying to help in serious danger.     
A big problem in fixing Congress is that the lawmakers make the laws.  All of them, including those that govern themselves.  It would take a religious revival in Congress for Congress to reform itself, but we know that religion has been banned from our government, thanks to a court considered supreme.
Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people.  Notice the evils that he names and doesn’t name.  He doesn’t mention killing or hate crimes.  He mentions behaviors more likely to be found in the highest places of our society than in the lowest, behaviors uniquely suited to people who have positions of power. 
Morality isn’t just about blacks killing blacks in Chicago, mass killers, people saying unkind things in private conversations or saying forbidden words out loud.  Morality is also about how people make the rules for other people and how they use the billions of dollars of other people’s money and whether they use it for noble ends in responsible ways without seeking personal gain from its use.  The temptations of power require more morality than average people can ever imagine.
Why rob banks when you can go into public office and control millions or billions of dollars legally.  People get rich being in Congress.  I would like to see a law where politicians declare their net worth before serving and at the end of each term of their service.  I use the word ‘service’ loosely here.  But don’t count on that law being passed, because, well, lawmakers make the laws, and why would they make a law like that?
So how do you fix something when the people responsible for fixing it are the same people who created the problems in the first place? 
The system was originally set up so that the members of the House of Representatives would change frequently, as they would be voted out of office whenever the public didn’t like how they were running things.  But the lawmakers have been able to take much of that power away from the people by how they are able to draw up voting districts that reflect party loyalty and other laws and means that almost assure people retaining their positions once they are elected.
I would like to suggest one simple reform that the people can demand and shame their representatives into following.  This one simple procedure can do more for getting bipartisanship and results than any other course of action.  We can’t make Congress do this, but if the public backs it, talks about it, gets the media to talk about it, we can make it hard for them not to comply.
So what is this simple reform that will transform Congress?  We must demand that Congress do simple legislation.  They call it piecemeal legislation, as a derogatory gesture.
The way Congress normally works now (Both sides have done this in the past, but one side is recognizing more and more that this has to stop.) is that a problem is identified.  The apparent goal is to write a bill as large as possible, covering everything related to the problem and a number of unrelated.  If nobody actually reads the bill, so much the better.  They will give you the main points in a brief summary as well as to the public.
The bill will contain enough good that people will expect you to vote for it.  It will contain a lot of things that you won’t like and things that would never pass on its own.  And it will contain a lot of things that you won’t like but will never know about until long after the bill is passed.  So how do you vote?  If you vote no, you are labeled as a bad guy, putting partisan politics over the interests of the country.  If you vote yes, you will still be a bad guy, because you know you voted for a lot of things that you believe are just wrong for this country.
How do you debate a 2,000 page health care bill, an 800 page immigration reform bill?   You don’t.  And that’s the way they want it.  Certain people in high places want certain things done, and they will do whatever it takes to get it done. 
The people, that’s you, me, and everybody else, need to start demanding that every bill must be short enough to read, short enough that every part of the bill can be and is debated, and never, never rushed to a vote.  A declaration of war after Pearl Harbor could be an allowable exception. 
We need to demand that our reps know what they are voting on and not have to vote for things they don’t want to get what they do.  When bills are debated, then you can see and expose what people are thinking and they have to try to make the case for what they want. 
We can and should demand that Congress be honest with us and responsible with our money. 
We have people demanding immigration reform in our country.  But what would that entail?  There are questions about border security.  There are questions about people who were brought over as children.  People who have used forged identification papers, Social Security cards.  Questions about deportation, splitting families, children born here to illegal parents.  Questions about possible citizenship for illegals. 
How can all of these questions be addressed?  The only way is one at a time.  If you try to do them all at one time, the plans will not be debated, and you’re not going to like at least half of the answers.  Tell your reps to take their time.  Do one thing at a time.  Let them make their best case for what they want.  Then let them decide.
We can’t make Congress do it this way.  They have to want to.  But we can make it known publicly and loudly that we are tired of the way things are done and that they can and need to do them better.  We just can’t complain though.  We have to have an explicit proposal on what they need to do.  And this is it.